Immigrant Health Assessments

The process of migration can make an already difficult situation even worse for racial/ethnic minorities. Migrants to the U.S. face multiple challenges, such as exposures to stress and other factors in the country of origin, risks due to the migration itself, language barriers, and discriminatory public sentiment.

Mayerle’s Lithographed International Test Chart, San Francisco, 1907
Courtesy of National Library of Medicine

Designed by German immigrant and optician George Mayerle, this “international” eye chart literally represents the diverse nationalities that immigrated to the U.S. in the early 20th century.

Asian immigrants arriving on both coasts of the United States in the first part of the 20th century received special scrutiny because they were considered disease carriers. Ironically, they were often forced into detention centers whose conditions the PHS considered unsanitary.  The Asian community mounted many legal challenges to these practices.

U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) and Immigration Service officers interrogating a Chinese immigrant at a meeting of the Board of Special Medical Inquiry, Angel Island, California, 1923, photograph by P.E. Brooks
Courtesy of National Library of Medicine
Camp Pendleton, California.  Mrs. Joyce Davenport, a Red Cross Volunteer from La Jolla, CA prepares a Vietnamese Refugee for an immunization shot, May 17, 1975
Courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, Department of Defense. Department of the Navy. U.S. Marine Corps. Item 26405591.

The impact of type 2 diabetes on Southeast Asian communities in the U.S.—a group that includes Cambodians, Hmong, Laotians, and Vietnamese—has not been well-studied.

This publication, meant for health care providers and decision makers, addresses the cultural, historical, and logistical factors in understanding and preventing diabetes in these populations.

Silent Trauma: Diabetes, Health Status, and the Refugee/Southeast Asians in the United States, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Diabetes Education Program—a collaboration between CDC and the National Institutes of Health, 2006 (PDF)